Journal of Natural History (2005) 39(37): 3305-3319.

The pholcid spiders from Sri Lanka: redescription of Pholcus ceylonicus and description of a new genus (Araneae: Pholcidae)

Bernhard A. Huber, Suresh P. Benjamin


The pholcid spiders of Sri Lanka have never been revised in any detail. Most species previously known from the island are widespread synanthropics. However, recent collecting has revealed a rich native fauna, with new taxa at species and genus levels. In this paper we redescribe Pholcus ceylonicus O. Pickard-Cambridge, 1869, present the first record of Modisimus culicinus (Simon, 1893) for Sri Lanka, and describe two new species of a new genus, Wanniyala agrabopath n. sp. and Wanniyala hakgala n. sp. Both new species appear to be restricted to relatively undisturbed forests, where they inhabit the leaf-litter. Several new Sri Lankan species tentatively assigned to Belisana Thorell will be described in a forthcoming revision of that genus. These studies suggest that a rich pholcid fauna may await discovery in Sri Lanka.

Key words: Sri Lanka, Araneae, Pholcidae, taxonomy, Pholcus ceylonicus, Wanniyala, biodiversity.